Politics

World community recognizes the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia

Joe Biden, Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Transgender Equality
Joe BidenPhoto: Shutterstock

President Joe Biden denounced both the coronavirus pandemic and “rising authoritarianism” as problems that disproportionately affect LGBTQ people in a statement recognizing the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOTB) today.

Noting that May 17, 1990 was when the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder and discussing advances in LGBTQ rights in the last 31 years, Biden said that there has been cause for concern in recent years.

Related: The bill passed the House in February. Every Democrat and three Republicans voted for it while 206 Republicans voted against it.

“Despite this progress, both COVID-19 and rising authoritarianism around the world continue to widen economic, social, and safety gaps for LGBTQI+ people — and an epidemic of violence still rages, with a particular impact on the transgender community, specifically transgender women and girls of color,” he said. “Around the world, some 70 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships.”

He also took this chance to call on the Senate to pass the Equality Act again. The Equality Act would add sexual orientation and gender identity to existing federal civil rights legislation, banning anti-LGBTQ discrimination in employment, housing, credit, and other areas.

“And here at home, LGBTQI+ Americans still lack basic protection in 25 states, and they continue to face discrimination in housing, education, and public services,” the statement said. “I continue to urge Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would confirm critical civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity for all Americans.”

The Equality Act passed the House in February. Every Democrat and three Republicans voted for it while 206 Republicans voted against it.

But the Senate was always going to be a tougher battle. The current rules in the Senate require 60 votes to end a filibuster on a bill, and there are only 50 Democrats in the Senate. This means that 10 Republicans would have to cross party lines in order for it to pass if every Democrat supports it.

Biden called on the U.S. to promote LGBTQ equality globally.

“Everyone is entitled to dignity and equality, no matter who they are, whom they love, or how they identify — and we will continue to engage with allies and partners to advance the human rights of LGBTQI+ people here at home and in all corners of the world,” the statement concluded.

Other administration officials, like Secretary of State Antony Blinken, also acknowledged the day. Government departments, other Democratic politicians, and international institutions also posted to social media in recognition of the day.

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